An elaborate gold belt buckle

Credit: Heather C. McCune Bruhn, 2017, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Resource Description

In this two-part module, developed by Heather McCune Bruhn and Sarah J. Townsend, we will explore gold. First we'll look at gold as a substance and examine how it is obtained from the earth (along with some of the dangers and consequences involved). Next we'll examine what makes gold so important: its allure and symbolism in Prehistory, as well as in the Ancient and Medieval world. Then we'll look at the importance of Africa as a source of gold throughout the centuries before exploring some ways of working gold. Part II of this module examines the extraction of gold in the Amazonian region of South America, focusing on its impact on the environment, indigenous people, and the miners themselves.

This resource is part of the following program: Redesigning Modernities.


CC BY-NC 4.0

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You can download the resource files here: Gold

Dr. McCune Bruhn is an Assistant Teaching Professor. An artist and teacher from a family of artists and teachers, she earned BFAs in both Printmaking and Art History from Virginia Commonwealth University (1993) before coming to Penn State for her MA (1997) and Ph.D. (2006) in Art History. Her Fulbright-funded thesis research in Germany on Late Gothic monstrances addressed issues of patronage and value, materials and methods, and liturgical function. She addresses similar themes in her teaching, both in basic surveys and in her specialty, medieval art. Her current research into materials and techniques reflects her background as a practicing artist and her ongoing investigation into materials, methods, and workshop practice. In 2006, Dr.

headshot of Sarah J. Townsend

Sarah J. Townsend is an Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Penn State-University Park, where she teaches courses such as Amazonia and Extractivism, Luso-Brazilian Theater Workshop, Latin American Modernisms and (Old) New Media, and Through the Looking-Glass: Race in the U.S. and Brazil. In broad terms, her work deals with the connections among culture, politics, and economics from the late nineteenth century to the present, a dynamic she most often explores through a focus on theater and/or other media technologies in Latin America. She is the co-editor of Stages of Conflict: A Critical Anthology of Latin American Theater and Performance (2008) and the author of The Unfinished Art of Theater: Avant-Garde Intellectuals in Mexico and Brazil (2018).

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